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Walking Antennas

Stephen Heiner gave up his Blackberry, experienced withdrawals, and eventually acclimated:

We have allowed ourselves to become 24/7 radio beacons. We are always on. Always ready to transmit or receive. There is a nervous habit that the younger generation has of checking their cell phones every 90 seconds or so. Just watch them. They didn’t hear a text message notification, but they are checking their phones just in case. And who knows, one might feel the urge to send a text message because heck, it’s been 30 seconds since one was sent. Watch people in airports, or in the auto repair shop, or on a university campus. There is a constant need to check to see if they are still plugged in. It is a nervous tic that they don’t even know is a tic.

In previous times, when we were more tied to place and limits as a society, people were reached at a specific location. Letters came to homes. Telegrams came to homes. Phone calls were placed… to homes. The cell phone, the harbinger of the always-on internet society, unhooked the anchor of place from communication. And when communication is not limited, is not circumscribed, it becomes unlimited and tyrannous.

A small personal observation. In DC, where I am sequestered in a blog-cave for much of the time, almost all my general communication is virtual. I see my hubby and a few close friends and occasionally bump into people at the Duplex Diner, but that's about it. In Provincetown, the contrast is astounding. I almost never text or phone my friends here. Why? Because I know I will bump into them soon, on Commercial Street or the gym or the beach or the bars or the commissary called Frappo66. From a near-total virtual existence, I go to an almost entirely real one: meeting actual people with bodies and faces and clothes in an unplanned and serendipitous fashion. It's liberating: life in a small town. Yes, there's Grindr and it can be fun. But you notice that it's the visitors who are still communicating virtually until they too succumb to the physical interaction we used to call life.

Another reason to come here. And to stay.

(Video via SwissMiss)